Energy Management and Lighting, Green Building, Maintenance and Operations, Sustainability/Business Continuity

Cintas Makes Major Switch to LEDs on ‘Path to Net Zero’

Cintas Corp. is nearing completion of a multi-year, company-wide LED lighting transition project to help reduce facility-focused energy use and support the company along its “Path to Net Zero,” a major part of Cintas’ environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals.

Headquartered in Cincinnati, the Fortune 500 company provides a wide range of products and services to businesses, including uniforms, cleaning supplies, and safety products.

Cintas’ 475 facilities throughout the United States and Canada fulfill the needs of its four business divisions. These field locations, distribution centers, and corporate facilities combine for about 23 million square feet of space that requires heating, cooling, and appropriate lighting.

Cintas identified an opportunity to decrease energy use by installing LED lights at its older, more energy-intensive locations, and initiated the company-wide LED transition project in FY’19.

Cintas’ Quality and Engineering Team completed LED installations at more than 125 locations by the end of the company’s FY’22, and entered the current fiscal year with fewer than 50 target facilities remaining in the current phase.

“We’ve already installed LED lighting in over 6 million square feet of space in our facilities, which is poised to reduce our annual energy use by almost 23.3 million kilowatt-hours going forward,” said Christy Nageleisen, Cintas’ vice president of ESG.

More than 27,000 incandescent and fluorescent lighting fixtures have been swapped out, and Cintas said the energy savings generated by the LEDs represents more than 16,500 metric tons of CO2 emissions averted annually.

A Strategic Plan

The lighting transition project is part of Cintas’ strategic ambition to achieve Net Zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.

“We’re not waiting until 2050 to start,” said Cintas Vice President of Quality & Engineering Mark Bolen. “We’re looking at all avenues to see where it makes the most sense, where our dollar has the best return, and it’s not just lighting. It’s being better environmental stewards.”

Cintas reduced its energy consumption intensity by 7.9% from FY’21 to FY’22, which included the expanding impact of the LED lighting transition project.

A Comprehensive Approach

Cintas’ facility-focused energy reductions go beyond LED lighting conversions.

“Sustainability and energy efficiency plays a key role for us, primarily because our products are delicate and they require a lot of attention that we provide to our customers,” Bolen said. “Engineering is constantly looking at ways to find equipment that is more reliable—more energy efficient—to ultimately reduce our reliance on energy.”

To that end, Cintas is exploring opportunities to test solar technology. Working with the state of New Jersey, Cintas identified the opportunity to install its first solar-powered system at the company’s Rental location in Piscataway, N.J.

The project is under way and expected to be fully installed and operational in the late spring of 2023. Once online and connected to the energy grid, Cintas’ first solar system installation will allow the company to evaluate its year-round performance and compare the costs with traditional utility-based energy sources.

Cintas’ Engineering Team and its Facility Team area also evaluating other energy- and water-reduction capabilities for its existing and future facilities.

Some Cintas facilities currently have various energy-reduction technologies installed, including entrances with multiple doors, timing mechanisms on the HVAC and lighting systems, water-flow reducers, and thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) roofs and ceilings made of lighter-colored materials to reflect radiant heat.

Additionally, all new Cintas buildings constructed since 2017 have been built with LED lighting systems installed. This includes external LED lighting configurations that create zero light spillage (also known as photometric pollution) at Cintas’ property boundaries.

As a result of the Path to Net Zero and the company’s overall Operational Excellence and Reliability initiatives, Cintas is also investigating the potential benefits of standardizing facility plans that incorporate a consistent set of energy-reducing technologies across all Cintas operations.

Learn more about Cintas’ ESG journey here.

ALSO READ: Is It Time to Ditch Fluorescent Light Bulbs for LEDs? Environmental Study Makes the Case

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.